Fulmer cracking down on Tennessee incidents

Updated: May 4, 2006, 12:53 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee football coach Phil Fulmer, in the wake of kicking one player off his team and suspending another this week, reiterated that he will not tolerate behavior that puts his team in a bad light.

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Phil Fulmer coaches in one of the great college towns in America. His school has a glorious tradition, a spectacular stadium and top-notch facilities.

But right now, Big Phil has got himself in quite a spot.

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"We're a team," Fulmer said in the Knoxville News-Sentinel. "You can choose to behave as a winner, and move ahead in life, or you can choose to behave like a loser.

"I want our guys to behave like winners."

On Wednesday, Fulmer dismissed freshman defensive lineman Raymond Henderson after Henderson made an "an inappropriate comment to a woman and her adolescent daughter Saturday night at a restaurant," Fulmer said in a statement.

According to the News-Sentinel, Henderson already had a curfew, thanks to an earlier incident. Fulmer said he had violated those restrictions on another occasion, but wouldn't expound, the paper said.

"I expect our young men to conduct themselves in a proper fashion on and off the field," Fulmer said. "Raymond poorly represented our team and what I expect our team to stand for. I want our team to understand -- and the majority of them do -- that I expect them to be winners in all areas of life."

Monday morning, linebacker Marvin Mitchell, a fifth-year senior and projected starter at middle linebacker, was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct after an incident at a gas station near campus. Fulmer announced on Tuesday he placed Mitchell on indefinite suspension.

Tennessee had eight players either arrested or cited during a six-month span in early 2005. Before Mitchell's arrest, the football program had gone since last July without a police incident.

Fulmer has made a point of team conduct during meetings. He called another one on Monday.

"I will not lower my standards," Fulmer said. "If anyone else on our team doesn't want to represent our great university and our football program in the proper fashion, they will not be here either. The young men on this team and our staff do not want distractions; we had too many of those last year. I am not having any patience with selfish people or people that don't know how to act."

Information from The Associated Press is included in this report